Screen Rant reviews The Crazies
The Crazies is a remake of George Romero’s 1973 film of the same name. I’ve never seen that version, so my review won’t be from the point of view of comparing it to the original. This remake takes place in a little prototypical American farm town called Ogden Marsh (Iowa). Within a couple of minutes of the film’s start, it’s clear that we’re in for not only some scary stuff, but a bit of subtle humor as well.
Timothy Olyphant plays sheriff David Dutton, married to the attractive town doctor (Radha Mitchell). From the first scene we’re made quite aware that while right now this is an idyllic little town, within a couple of days all hell wil break loose. The first indication is when the town (ex?)drunk wanders onto a baseball field in the middle of a game while carrying a shotgun. He seems drunk or out of sorts, and Dutton is forced to kill him when he prepares to shoot.
Everyone is devastated (it’s a small enough town where everyone pretty much knows everyone else), but soon enough another local goes glassy-eyed and murderous – and devastation turns to fear. There’s an infection spreading throughout the town and things are even more amiss than they seem when all communication with the outside world is cut off. The reason becomes clear when gas mask-wearing soldiers appear and begin herding the townsfolk into a fenced holding facility, separating those they believe are infected from those who are not.
Dutton is separated from his wife when she is flagged as being infected – she’s had a slight running fever for a month due to the fact that she’s pregnant, but the government doctors on the scene are oblivious and not listening to anyone’s excuses. Things go from bad to worse as not everyone has been rounded up and a break out occurs at the facility. There’s good reason as no one from the government is giving even a hint of an explanation as to what is going on.
I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you that Dutton rescues his wife from the facility – from there they try to avoid the authorities and get out of town along with his deputy and another young woman.
Directed by Breck Eisner, The Crazies manages a deft combination of occasional humor juxtaposed against scares and a story that will make you feel uneasy. Within five minutes I thought to myself “this is good.” Yes, it uses jump scares (among other things, and more effectively than some films) and their may be cliched aspects to it, but sometimes things become cliches because they’ve worked so well for so long. The film is gory, but not excessively so.
I thought there were a lot of very good small moments in the film between various characters, and Timothy Olyphant made the film easy to watch. H made it seem more believable and realistic than it might have been with someone else in the lead. Actually what I appreciated about the film was that it was so relatively realistic and grounded in reality. That made what was happening seep that much more under your skin. They didn’t get into much of a socio-political message in the film (thankfully) despite the outbreak not only having been the government’s fault, but that the “clean up” was terribly brutal and mishandled.
There were quite a few scenes that caused the audience (and me) to jump and there were scenes that made you laugh out loud (intentionally) as well as cheer.
If you’re a horror movie fan (or more specifically, a fan of the zombie genre, even though it’s technically not a zombie film) then I give The Crazies a hearty recommendation.